Keep calm and make music; MacPhail, Pacelli making beautiful music together

Published 9:59 am Friday, November 4, 2016

Laura Marreel

Pacelli principal

MacPhail Center for Music is one of the newest members of the Austin community. In addition to providing music lessons and classes at their location at Riverland Community College, MacPhail is partnering with the Austin Public Schools, Pacelli Catholic Schools, the Community Learning Center, Woodson Kindergarten Center and Apple Lane Childcare to provide music enrichment and opportunities for students of all ages.

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Pacelli has seen some exciting growth for students in their band and orchestra programs with access to music programming that the MacPhail Center for Music is providing. Through the awarding of grant funds, outside support, and a strong partnership with MacPhail, Pacelli has begun to build its own band and orchestra program. Instrument selection and lessons begin in 4th grade for Pacelli students. With MacPhail instructors, students receive weekly 30 minute lessons on their instrument as well as whole group beginning band and orchestra ensemble rehearsal. During the 2014-2015 school year, only five Pacelli students were involved in band or orchestra. That number rose to 42 students last year and continues this year, due to the support of MacPhail instructors and grant funding. As the numbers continue to increase and the younger band and orchestra students move into middle and high school, the hope is that Pacelli will be able to support its own band and orchestra program at the secondary level and experience the level of excellence already achieved by Pacelli’s choral and theater programs.

Through grant funding from the Hormel Foundation, Pacelli has purchased band and orchestra instruments that are loaned to students. By providing these instruments, all students are given the opportunity to participate in band or orchestra if they are interested.

Pacelli is exploring future opportunities to include preschool and elementary students in MacPhail music development beyond that which is already provided at Pacelli schools. MacPhail offers early childhood on-line music programs that provide young learners with diverse musical experiences. Elementary students would move beyond learning notes, folk songs and dance and begin to work together in ensemble situations. Students are challenged to think outside the box and experiment with how to create new, different, and diverse sounds. This collaboration would not only prepare students for performing in band and orchestra but also teach them how to work as a team for sports, school work, and future careers. We believe that developing our music program will strengthen our students and be part of developing well-rounded individuals.

MacPhail Center for Music is providing many opportunities for Pacelli and the Austin community. For more information about community individual lessons or group classes offered by MacPhail or for questions regarding the financial aid program in Austin, contact Cheryl Collins at 507-396-6730 or email Information about MacPhail programs can be found on their website

If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools visit our website at, email or call 507-437-3278.